A little bragging

I like to do a little bragging.

I’m from Kansas, and I love it.

We are called a flyover state, because everybody on the East Coast traveling to the West Coast (or vice versa) considers their life hipper or more important than the happenings of this sparsely populated, agriculturally based, midwestern valued place I call home.

I was actually born in Los Angeles, but made it to Kansas before I ever even started school. I grew up in a little place called Great Bend, but spent my summers with my grandparents in the suburbs of L.A.

As a pastor, speaker and motivator I’ve been all around the country and several spots around the globe.

So, my bragging isn’t from a position of ignorance.

I’ve been around the world and back, and I still love Kansas.

In Kansas, I know were not the Bible Belt, and as a preacher that would have its advantages. Actually, were more like the belly button just above the buckle on that belt. It puts us just far enough north to make church and Christianity a choice and not some heredity disorder, or social norm… in Kansas, you go to church because you want to, or you don’t go.

In Kansas, we don’t have any of those ivory towers of the ivy league’s elite to tout our intellectual prowess. Honestly, the more I read about what’s coming down from those lofty heights, I’m glad. Group think, political correctness and social conformity just don’t settle well here… in Kansas, we mix our education with a little common sense and we still think for ourselves.

In Kansas, we’re not backwood country nor are we big city, in the least. We are rural. It means we know how to survive, there’s a Walmart in the next city, we measure distance by time not miles, snow doesn’t bring us to a halt and summer heat is just part of the job, tornado sirens make us run to the porch, and we actually know what amber waves of grain are… they are beautiful. We are right in the middle: a little too far north to be southerners, a little too far south to be over cultured, a little too far east to be your version of cool and little too far west to be remembered… in Kansas, we’re right where we want to be, on our own.

Some may not like the description I am about to use, but I’m gonna use it anyway since I am from Kansas and not really concerned with your evaluation. I think of myself and fellow Kansas as ‘refined rednecks.’ We’re smarter than you think and tougher than you imagine.

Kansas is not perfect. There are still bullies in our schools, fights at city hall and gossip at the donut shops, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. These thoughts aren’t meant to offend anyone else from any other place. I hope you are proud of wherever you call home… if not, you should move here. Lot’s of space, good people, and I here there’s a great church.

So, go ahead world, keep flying over. We’ll just keep doing what we always do: living life, shaking our heads at the news and praying for everyone else out there.

Ad astra per aspera… sorry, it’s a Kansas thing.

The biggest moon ever

Have you ever been stopped in your tracks by an incredible moon rise, or moon set?

You know, one of those moments when your breath is taken away by the hugeness of the moon hanging low in the sky. You may have even thought, or said something like, “The moon is huge tonight!”

You might find it disturbing to know that your eyes are playing tricks on you. It’s still a beautiful moon and totally worthy of your pause and admiration of its Creator, but just so that you know… you’re wrong.

Wow, quit being so sensitive. I’m just trying to teach you something.

The truth is that what you see when the moon is “so big” is really an optical illusion in fact, the moon is always the same size in the sky. Let me give you a few Continue reading “The biggest moon ever”

Twas the night…

 

Twas the night before Christmas and the service begun

     The church was all decked out, for holiday fun!

Church members were nestled all snug in their pew

     With wreaths and lights and poinsettias in view

 

The auditorium was warm to instill Christmas cheer

     And singers were ready with carols near and dear

Then up at the front with sermon notes handy

     A Christmas message, for sure, from old Pastor Andy

 

The music was great and the message…okay

     But everyone’s thoughts were for the breaking of day

For morning would come with presents and joy

     Mom getting clothes and Dad, of course, toys

 

When out on the parking lot there arose such a clatter

     We sprang from our seats to see what’s the matter

Running out through the foyer and down the long hall

     We stood in the doorway to watch, one and all

 

A few feet away was a broken down car

     Dented and scratched, an eye-sore for sure

Then out stepped a man from this beat up ole caddy

     And three youngsters inside, they each called him “Daddy!” Continue reading “Twas the night…”

Be B.O.L.D.

I just wanted to share a little bit of camp with you!

I am currently at Riverbend Retreat Center near Glen Rose, Texas for the second week of Kidz@Kamp 2011.

I love camp (in fact, I’ll be at 7 weeks of it this summer), but I really love this one. I have been leading and speaking here since 1997. It’s one of those long term commitments that’s feels like your building a legacy.

In fact, yesterday, a young sponsor came up to me and said, “When I was 10 I came to this camp. You ate lunch at my table one day and that night I gave my heart to Jesus. Thank you.”

After that comment I truly understand the Old Testament phrase “blessings and curses”… She made my day and man I felt old.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a little of camp with you. Below is the message from the first night as we were setting the theme for BOLD from Joshua 1:9.

If you’re a part of the CrossPoint faith community I am sure you’ve heard all the stories, but looking through the eyes of several hundred 3rd-5th graders will still be a fun experience… Enjoy!

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

You call that worship?

The following video clip is a teaching/story I have been telling for years (12 to be exact), but I have never captured it on video.

A few nights ago I was asked to speak at the first ever CrossPoint Country worship/concert event. It was more than awesome and hope we can do it again soon.

It was the perfect time to share this thought and I hope it’s an encouragement to you.

What an opportunity, I think I’m gonna hurl

I am writing this blog from an unusual place… the back seat of my truck.

We’re headed to the Amarillo, TX., area for a week of camp with Paramount Baptist Church and company. Nathan sickly

I usually don’t spend much time in the backseat on 6 hour road trips, but this one has some special circumstances. As the Addis clan woke this morning with great expectation for some time together, poolside fun, fishing, the blob, eating snack shop food, and getting to share Jesus with a crowd we’ve never met before, we heard the words no parent likes to hear: “I don’t feel very good.”

Wasn’t long after that we had… er… evidence?

Poor Nathan, he hates getting sick. I realize no one enjoys it, but this isn’t in his top 5 worst things ever. It is his top 1, and has been for a while.

So it started:

    *”Lay down for a couple of minutes and see if you feel better.” – 10 minutes late
    *”Take this Emetrol baby… Well, if it does make you throw up, you probably needed to (mom logic at it’s best)” – 25 minutes late
    *”Try some crackers, they always make me feel bet… Oh, oh… Here’s the bowl… Use the bowl!” – 50 minutes late

After the clocked ticked past an hour late, I was still sitting on the living room floor rubbing his back. The truck was loaded. The students were en route. Camp was waiting.

Any parent knows this kind of thing usually passes in a few hours. By lunch he’d most likely be trampoline ready, and this sickly business just a not-so fond memory.

Still, none of that changes the present.

Being sick, sucks.

I mentally went over the options:

    *Call grandma and tell her she has a surprise 5 day houseguest
    *Unpack the truck and make a solo flight, leaving the family behind
    *Have the little man suck it up, tough it out and make the trip

So, we had a little talk…

Opportunity, as a word, has its origins in a Latin nautical term denoting ‘favorable winds’. But, the root of that is an even simpler word for ‘port’ (the source of the English word port).

In other words, opportunities are like different ports of call. You can sail past them, ignore them, avoid them, be afraid of them, talk about them, pray for them, visit internet sites about them, but you will never experience a port/opportunity if you don’t sail your boat into that harbor.

Colossians 4:5 promotes the same idea:

Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward boutsiders, making the most of the opportunity.

Very rarely do opportunities come to you, as we like to say. We have to make something of them.

What port of experience have you been sailing around? What harbor holds a conversation you just won’t anchor near? What dock connects to the gangway of your future that’s just up the coastline?

It’s time to pull into port and make the most of our opportunities.

So, back to Nathan. I laid out the options for him and let him know that time was getting away from us. We had to make a decision.

I believe my exact words were, “I’d really like you to man up on this one. It won’t be a fun trip. It might even be miserable, but I think it’ll be worth it. Once this passes you’re going to wish you did the hard thing. I don’t want you to miss the opportunity.”

So, here we are. Seatbelt awkwardly wrapped around his sprawled out, lanky frame. Puke bowl on the floor board. Wet wash rag hanging on the door handle. Feet on my lap.

No more crying. No more gagging. Just sleeping.

Five hours to go.

I’m pretty proud of my little man. This could be a great opportunity.

Wake up!

Below is a writing from the most beautiful of The Addi. My wife has some amazing things to share and teach, but is often reluctant. So, until I can get her to start her own blog, I will continue to steal her stuff and post it here for you.

——————–

Some people like to be scared, I don’t. Some people, like my beloved husband *note sarcastic tone* think it’s hysterical to try to scare me. Thankfully after 16 years of marriage I am catching on to him and can usually avoid it. There is still one device that he will occasionally use that I can barely tolerate having in our home…an alarm clock.

I hate (yes, I know that is a very harsh word and shouldn’t be used lightly, but it is very applicable here) waking up to an alarm clock! I find them to be a tool used by the devil to put me in a very bad mood. I know many people who use them regularly and wouldn’t think of getting up any other way, but for me it is almost a guarantee that the rest of my day will be cranky.

The sad thing is that I have always been this way. I have never appreciated that piercing sound regardless of what setting I had it on. It was always the most wretched sound I can think of!

For me the thought of being yanked from my dream world of slumber in which I am typically playing a role of some kind or being chased down an old empty hall by a guy with the head of Will Smith and the body of a goat while I’m wearing a prom dress, is frustrating and profoundly annoying.

For as long as I have had to use the awful things, they have started my day off on the wrong foot. I feel the need to apologize to my Mom and sister for being so hateful on so many mornings growing up.

Consequently, as a means of maturing in my faith, and trying to save my marriage by not being such a grouch I started earnestly praying about this very subject 12 years ago. Through His amazing grace and forever faithfulness, He planted an idea in my head that seemed so crazy, but a welcomed alternative.

After the birth of my oldest son, God gave me the incredible blessing of being able to stay home with him, and I no longer had much of a need for an alarm clock. I really appreciated this, but there was on occasion a need to be up before my kiddo and I was presented with the same old issue.

That is where this idea was brought to life. As I prayed about having a better attitude, God made it very clear to me that I needed to learn to trust Him more, in all things.

The verse in Proverbs 3 that says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths.” began to make a little more sense.

I confessed my weakness of being easily irritated by such a little thing like an alarm clock and asked God to help me have more trust in this. He offered me a solution that has worked for me everyday since.

I trust the Lord to get me up when He feels I need to be up. I ask Him to give me enough time to get done what I need to and He has faithfully woke me without fail for the last 12 years. Even on those mornings when we have had to be up super early, He always gets my attention.

Here’s the kicker, when He wakes me, I better get up! See, this arrangement doesn’t
just depend on Him finding amazingly creative ways to wake me, the other half is me doing my part by obeying Him and getting up when I feel His gentle nudge.

God has been very creative in the ways He wakes me with things like our cat meowing me out of bed, my husband snoring (which is rather unusual) or the traffic outside. There have been a few times when I really think He has simply whispered my name.

Regardless, He wakes me and my day is better, no matter when He decides to do it. That is one aspect of this arrangement that I had not really planned on. His schedule is not always the same as mine. There are many mornings that He will wake me when I am certain it is way too early, usually around 5:00am.

I know many people get up by then and even before, but for me, that is EARLY. He knows that is when it is the quietest in our home and He and I can spend some quiet time together. I would love to say this is the way it always happens, but sadly it’s not. I am very often stubborn and disobedient.

I don’t pretend to ‘get’ all scripture and I am far from a theologian, but I believe God has given me a very practical application to Proverbs 3:5-6. I trust Him in the simple matter of getting me up in the mornings and I seek His will for me in what time my day will begin.

I am so thankful for the privilege of serving a God that cares about even the smallest part of our lives.

God may not be wanting to be your alarm clock, but He is wanting to be be the One you trust, depend on and seek. In the many arenas of your life like marriage, faith, career and family, we need to let Him set the agenda.

When He whispers your name, however that whisper comes, it’s time to wake up!

God bless the mess

Sometimes we need to look at what we’re not looking at.

Coming into work each day is pretty routine, unless it’s the day after services. I must admit, walking into my office on those days is usually frustrating.

The reason it’s frustrating? It doesn’t have anything to do with the life of our church, workload, or cantankerous individuals as you might think.

No, the reason it’s frustrating is my children!

Because we have 7 services each weekend, and I want my children to love church and not hate it, we don’t require them to attend every time their parents do. One church (or one children’s church) and they’re done for the weekend.

But on the occasions that mom and dad have to be there and they have to be in the building, I’ve tried to create a sanctuary in my office for them.

There’s a PlayStation for some video game action, movies from Netflix, and a computer to play on… basically a child’s hideaway and a little bit of paradise away from the pews.

Continue reading “God bless the mess”

Two reasons

Today is a processing day.

After spending last week with 40 plus CrossPointers at the C3 conference in Dallas, TX, I have a lot to ponder. I usually love these days.

Coming back from a conference has always meant rest, rejuvenation and a boatload of new ideas.

Not this year.

It felt like every speaker was giving me a booty kickin’.

I left every session feeling like I just got sucker punched by the Holy Spirit. Don’t get me wrong it was awesome; painful, but awesome.

Continue reading “Two reasons”

A Valentine of Mine

A very public valentine for my wife. Because I want her to know, that you all know, what I know…

I love you my Kathy.

There is a reason that wife rhymes with life

God’s design from the beginning

That the two become one

Never undone

Best prize to be won

A life well lived, shared together

The reason that life rhymes with wife

____________________

Many a role she has played, over the years to this day

A partner without equal

A mother, yes

A friend, the best

A lover, caressed

A sister in the faith

One who covers me when I stray, never fails to pray

____________________

Taking a journey or a stand, through the years hand in hand

She’s a companion much undeserved

In marriage, my bride

Over children, we’ve cried

Through my fears, a guide

A single day without, I cannot imagine

This life I could not withstand without her in that wedding band

____________________

On this day we are not done, many miles yet to run

The only race I never want to end

Promised love, I do

To our home, I’m true

My only love, is you

Words cannot express my heart

Regrets there are none, knowing our time has just begun